Electronic patient records move

1 March 2012

The push for Canterbury patient records to be shared electronically was stepped up after last year’s February quake and the service is now close to being launched.

Community nurses at Nurse Maude and Pegasus Health were amongst the group of community and hospital health professionals that piloted the new Shared Care Record View (eSCRV). Nigel Millar, chief medical officer at Canterbury District Health Board said a shared electronic record was prioritized after the February 2011 quake so Canterbury was better prepared for the “next big event”.

“As emergency planners have been saying for decades, you need to prepare for a major event such as an earthquake, or learn the hard way.”

He said thanks to staff initiative, the health system coped “brilliantly” after February 22, but in the aftermath, patients were not seen by their usual health professional as many GP practices and pharmacies were closed and community nursing services severely disrupted.

“Patients were also coming in to the emergency department with no referral and no quick way to check patient history”.

Millar said electronic records would allow health professionals to access patient history through a secure portal leading to “faster and more informed treatment”.

The piloted programme is to become more widely available in April and expected to be fully functional by July.